One of the three Hume family members who owned The Daily Gazette has transferred his shares back to the company, leaving sole ownership of the newspaper with his two cousins.
John E.N. Hume III, the longtime Gazette publisher who retired this summer, transferred his ownership this week back to the company, shedding his position on the newspaper’s board of directors, as well. The move leaves his cousins, Elizabeth “Betsie” Hume Lind and Bill Hume, with all remaining shares in the company.
“The Gazette will be in good hands,” said John “Jack” Hume, 73. “I think they’ve already demonstrated that they’re really willing to work and seek new ideas and change things if they have to be changed.”
Hume retired from the newspaper this summer after 23 years as publisher and many more years in various other positions. He was replaced by John DeAugustine, the former president of circulation at Hearst Community Newspaper Group and the first non-family publisher of the Gazette.
“One of the most important things for a company to have is a succession plan,” said Lind. “This eliminates any confusion there might have been about the future ownership of the company when someone passes on.”
Company ownership was split 50-50, with Jack Hume owning half of the shares and Lind and Bill Hume owning the other half. DeAugustine said the Humes have been considering a succession plan for some time now in an effort to ensure the company remained family-owned.
“Betsie and Bill have kids and will be able to pass their shares down from generation to generation,” he said. “The importance of this — in Jack’s eyes and others’ — is you want to have a very stable ownership so you can recruit new talent, keep the talent you have and plan for the future. This solidifies that plan. Jack will be very missed. He was a great leader here.”
Jack Hume started in the newspaper’s pressroom in 1958, when it was still called the Schenectady Gazette. He had graduated from Albany Academy and would later attend the University of Virginia. After active duty in the Schenectady Air National Guard, he become a more permanent fixture at the newspaper in 1966, doing work in engravings. Over the years, he worked his way up to photographer, assistant state editor, assistant city editor, managing editor and then editor. In 1990, he became publisher.
Jack Hume will, however, remain actively involved in one aspect of the paper’s operation: editing the paper’s weekly outdoors page, a job he has undertaken for years.
Hume’s great-grandfather, Gerardus Smith, founded the newspaper in 1894. It has remained in the family to this day.
“Jack has continually expressed his interest in maintaining family continuity of The Daily Gazette,” wrote Betsie Hume Lind in a letter to employees Wednesday.
“We are grateful to Jack for his years of leadership as president and publisher of our paper and his foresight in helping to secure its future,” she added. “The change in ownership will not impact the day-to-day operation of the company. The current leadership team will continue to execute our goals of delivering the best possible news coverage and advertising results in the region. The family remains committed to continually maintain and improve our products in the same tradition of ownership that has characterized the past 119 years and into the future, including the family’s next generation and beyond.”
An active search has begun to fill Hume’s position on the company’s board of directors, which now consists of Lind and Bill Hume. Lind is board president. Hume is secretary and treasurer.
Bill Hume’s daughter, Kathryn E. Hume, sits on an advisory board with two industry representatives: John B. Johnson of the Johnson Newspaper Corp. in Watertown; and Jon Segal, former president of Freedom Newspapers.